I’ve been back to blogging for about a month, and it is so nice to be back. In that time, much has changed—I went from being a stay-at-home mom to a work-at-home mom, we relocated to a different county, and soon I will be venturing off as an entrepreneur. With all that has changed, one thing has been constant: I’ve had to walk down unexpected paths. I’m certain you have, too.
Life is full of change, yet when one comes along it still takes us by surprise. Whether it’s the changing seasons of raising kids, the ebb and flow of work, or maturing as a person, unexpected paths are inevitable. I’m here to help you walk down unexpected paths so you can get past fear, find courage, and discover joy in the journey.
Fear of the unexpected
We are creatures of habit, we like to know what’s happening next so we can make preparations. But when something unexpected comes up, it shakes up our plans and we’re left at a crossroads. What’s going to happen? Who will this affect? Where will I go? Is this the right choice?
The questions you ask when the unexpected arises will set you up for either success or failure. These knee-jerk reactions reveal your character and where you put your trust. Fear is natural, and it’s okay. It’s what we do with that fear that really matters. Will the fear cripple you or will it drive you to persevere?
I know this fear well. I went into an ultrasound appointment excited to know if we were going to have a boy or a girl, only to walk out of that appointment knowing we would never get to bring our baby home. Years later, when my husband’s company offered him a position in San Diego, we feared being away from family and friends, losing my job, finding a good school, and adjusting to a higher cost of living.
When you are at a crossroads, who you bring with you as you move forward is essential. Fear will only go as far as you allow. When you feel a storm brewing, where will you be anchored? At both of these major crossroads of my life, I went to the one thing that has remained constant in my life. The One that has had control of my life even when I felt out of control. I went to the LORD.
The evening of that horrible appointment, in my despair and questioning, I read God’s Word. In my fear, this is what God had to say to me through Scripture.
This is not a coincidence. It’s what happens when you live by faith and pay attention. No matter the situation, you cannot stay in fear. You have to move forward. Right or wrong, left or right, you must choose a road and take a step. To take that step, you have to build up courage.
Courage to take a step
Unexpected roads are critical times in life when we get to choose the path we walk. How do you move past fear and take that first courageous step? For me, it was prayer and preparation that moved me past what I feared and onto the path that God forged.
Nothing can prepare you for losing a child (at any age). We knew our baby wasn’t going to make it, and we prayed desperately. It didn’t change the outcome, but it put us on a different path. Instead of shopping for diapers, I was applying for a job. Not what I would have preferred at all, but I couldn’t stay in fear. Prayer lead me through the process and gave me a job I didn’t even know I wanted.
When everything gets turned upside down, you have to eventually get up, dust yourself off, and walk. When we finally got used to me working, my husband got the opportunity to grow professionally in a place we were not familiar with. Deciding whether to go or stay was a good three-month process of prayer, research, consultation, and faith.
Courage gives us the ability to put on binoculars and prepare for the journey ahead. I courageously applied for, interviewed, and accepted a position I did not expect. Two years later, we courageously recalculated our budget, searched for homes and schools, drove out to look at listings, submitted applications, loaded a moving truck, and planted ourselves in a new place.
Courage gives us a vision for what’s possible. If you need an extra serving of courage to walk down an unexpected path, take a deep breath, do your homework, know that God is in control, and walk with this mantra in mind:
Joy in the journey
Sometimes we walk through unexpected paths wondering if we are making the right decision. Until we begin taking steps, we may not know. That’s when we have to find the joy in the journey.
Even though I would have preferred sleepless nights with an infant, there were many hidden blessings in taking on a job before I wanted. It put us in a nearby church with a private school, a great staff discount on tuition, and the flexibility to work from home. I thought moving away would ruin all these things I had held dear, but it actually added to the joy.
When I told my bosses about the opportunity to relocate, they were surprisingly willing to have me work remotely full-time. This was a major factor in our decision to move. On moving day, we were warmly welcomed by a handful of neighbors. On moving day! Before we ever laid our heads down in our new place, we already knew who our neighbors were.
It may not seem obvious at first, but often these unexpected roads lead right to where we were supposed to be all along. When you’re not sure about the path you’re walking, take a look at the unexpected blessings you’ve come across. There are always mile-markers of progress and blessing when we stop to look for them.
Go in faith
When you arrive at a fork in the road, you can fear, question, and even doubt, but don’t stay there. Prayerfully climb out of your fearful pit, courageously claw through the possibilities, faithfully walk the path, and intentionally take frequent stops to enjoy the tangible and hidden blessings.
Which part of the journey are you on today? Fear? Courage? Joy? Share in the comments and encourage someone else who is walking an unexpected path.
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